Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell

Hilari Bell is one of those fantasy authors that I generally enjoy, but rarely think of when I'm listing  favorites. The Goblin Wood, like many of her other works, is a good, solid read, though it doesn't quite rise to excellence.

When Makenna's mother is killed by the villagers that she's known all her life, Makenna runs away to escape her mother's fate. Like her mother, Makenna is a hedgewitch, and witches are being persecuted more and more by both the government and the people of the land. After stealing an apple from an orchard protected by goblins, Makenna finds herself pursued by the creatures . . . until she learns more about them and comes to an understanding with them. Goblins, like witches, are being driven out of the settled lands and into the wilderness. Though they are crafty and gifted with magical talents, they need someone who can organize them if they are going to have any hope of surviving. Makenna, feeling hostile and resentful of her own kind, throws her lot in with the goblins and never looks back.

Tobin is a knight and heir to his father's lands, until he rescues his younger brother from a political scrape. When he takes his brother's place and accepts responsibility for the scheme, Tobin is beaten, demoted, and disinherited. He's given one chance to regain his honor: capture the sorceress who has power over an army of goblins. He has hardly a chance against such powerful magic -- but the only other option is a life of shame, and by capturing the sorceress, he would be saving his country as well. However, when he meets Makenna and her goblins, he begins to question everything he has been told about this "sorceress" and her "army."

This was a quick and straightforward read, without a great deal of depth to either characters or plot, but enjoyable nonetheless. I'll be tracking down and reading the sequels soon.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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